First Partner Manager Role? How to Be Successful
Are you a new partner manager looking for advice on how to succeed in the world of partnerships? Here’s Firneo’s guide to getting started in this role.
Congratulations—you just scored the partner manager position of your dreams! And now, it’s time to…wait a minute. What are you actually supposed to do in this job? Surely someone else in your office can help you get started, right?
While partnerships are a huge part of today’s corporate world, people entering this industry don’t often get the guidance they need to succeed in their new roles. Making matters worse, you might not just be you that’s new—there’s a good chance your company has never had anyone else working in this capacity, either. If you feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment, it’s not hard to see why.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should give up! Keep reading for our comprehensive guide to getting a strong start during your first few months of partner management.
The Partner Manager Basics
The first thing you’ll need to understand when you become a partner manager is your role. As you might expect, a partner manager is simply someone responsible for handling a business’s partnerships with other companies.
Having at least one full-time employee responsible for managing partnerships is essential because, quite simply, successful partnerships won’t stay that way without constant attention. If you neglect your partnerships after establishing them, you could miss out on exciting business opportunities—and that’s the best-case scenario. Without maintenance, your partnership could gradually unalign or crumble entirely.
As a partner manager, your everyday responsibilities include:
- Providing clear communication between you and your partners
- Working with stakeholders from your partner companies
- Pursuing internal and external alignment for each of your partnerships
- Arbitrating partnership-related strategies and business decisions
- Offering support and advice as needed
Getting Started as a Partner Manager
Now that you know the partnership management essentials, it’s time to make a name for yourself in this field. When you’re just getting started in this position, be sure to:
Set Yourself Up For Success
Once you’ve settled into your new role, your first step should be to determine the current state of your company’s partnerships. As part of this process, make a point of finding out:
- Which companies are part of your partner ecosystem
- Each partnership’s key stakeholders
- The categories your partnerships fall into (for example, whether they’re strategic or non-strategic, product integrations, channel partnerships, or brand partnerships)
- The primary goals of each partnership
Once that’s taken care of, you’ll have a strong foundation in place for everything that comes next. Before moving on, set up data reporting for your partnerships and meet with important people in your company to discuss these relationships.
Reinforce Your Current Connections
Now that you know more about your organization’s partnership landscape, you’re ready to figure out where you stand with your existing partners and take steps to strengthen your relationships.
One of the most effective things you can do is to check whether or not your company has a presence on your partners’ directory pages. This is particularly important if you’re the first full-time partner manager at your business—or your business’s first partner manager, period. If you are indeed the starting point, your company probably doesn’t have the level of representation you’d want on these pages. If your listings are inaccurate or nonexistent, contact your partners to resolve this issue.
It’s also wise to double-check your partnership qualifications. That’s because meeting the right certification standards can help you get listed as a “premier partner.” Don’t assume this is just a meaningless title, either—it often comes with extra marketing privileges.
Focus on Growth
It’s important to confirm if your company’s partner website listings need to be updated, but partnership marketing is a two-way street. That means your business should make an effort to highlight its partners, too. If your site doesn’t already have a partner page, focus on putting one together. If it does, enhance your page with case studies, blog posts highlighting your partnerships, and other types of engaging content.
That isn’t the only way you can help your ecosystem grow, either. The fact is, every successful partnership is built on communication between stakeholders. With that in mind, check in with your partners regularly to see what they like about your partnership—and what they’d like to improve.
Once you’ve taken the steps listed above, you can be reasonably confident that your ongoing partnerships are in good shape. When you’ve reached this point, it’s the perfect time to focus on building your network. Meeting other partnership experts in person or online can help you broaden your professional horizons. Your networking efforts could even spark a new partnership for your company.
Get the Partner Manager Playbook You Need
Entering a new role can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have a clear playbook to work from. That’s true for any job, but partner manager positions are notoriously confusing to people new to this industry. Making matters worse, few business schools teach the skills required for successful partnership management.
This article can help you get started in the world of partnerships, but if you want to add rocket fuel to your partnerships career then reach out to our experts at Firneo. We have decades of experience in the business, and we’re here to teach you all the tricks and tips to make your partnerships program a star.
The Certified Partnerships Professional program we offer will give you the knowledge necessary to thrive in your high-stakes position. Our next cohort is starting soon—sign up today!
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